A Couple of Near Things

Details of floor and flagstone hearth

This was such a busy weekend and every major event happened this week, it seemed. Fort Dobbs, Martin Station, the glory that is Kings Mountain and festivals all over the place, but for two idiots who don’t know when to stop, it was a near thing and  it was back to the fort to try and finish cabin number 4. It’s kind of like Birthus Interruptus. We talked about going to Martin Station tody but thought that since the weather was as good as it will ever be, perhaps we should load the tools back up and see if we couldn’t  finish what we started on Thursday. So far we’ve spent about 14 hours in actual hard labor (pun intended), the hardest being laying down the poplar floor (actually for my money, the  most demanding  for me was nailing though that damnable poplar to the cross braces), the best being fitting flagstones together to make the neatest hearth possible. Eigthy pounds of Quickrete was just enough to sink those babies in and a smear of ash to make it look like mud completed the effect.

New Floor, New Mantle, New Flagstone HearthThe mantle piece that was suspended by rope went the way of all things fragile so we came up with a plan to make it permanent, even to the pegging.On the far wall, we suspended what we call the "closet"; shelving and racks for guns, coats and whatevers. We staged the downstairs with things we had extra,rag rugs, a rope chair, the armed wooden chair, the little kitchen, candlesticks,pewter mugs and plate and a majolica wannabe teapot and plate. Closet and table to the left of the cabin

 While Mike was slicing and dicing poplar boards, I was upstairs stuffing insulation into the cloth bags and stuffing the last of the big gaping holes. We brought plenty of insulation and  figured it would take about two more hours to slice the battens and nail them to the sides of the cabin’s second floor and nail down the boards along the sides.

Even with the insulation incomplete, it will be a lot more comfortable than it would have been without. For sure, the second floor will be comfy for additional sleepers when we get it done.

The one thing that didn’t escape either one of us is the relative speed and comfort we had in doing all this. As we were using table saws, rotary saw and other power equipment,the use was a constant reminder of how much better we had it than those who broke their backs  to construct the first buildings two centuries and some odd years ago. It was certainly a lot easier for us giving birth so to speak to the new additions than it was for those using  crude tools and a lot of sweat.

Speaking of birthing (great metaphor, isn’t it?) , the other near thing was something I forgot to write about when we had the Muster a few weeks ago. While the Overmountain Men were gathering by the river, Sherry Shook and I were chewing the fat getting ready to go down. Sherry with her nurse’s eye spotted the  woman first, lumbering around the fort in a hospital gown, an intervenous stuck in her hand.  We asked the lady what she was doing and Ginger told us that she was in hard labor, heer water having broken an hour or more before  and the baby wouldn’t come out so her doctor told her to take a walk. The hospital is over 1/4 of a mile away and neither one of us figured that the doctor would have meant for her to take a walk to the fort, for goodness sakes.  You mstt be thinking by now that I’m full of IT but I got the picture to prove it. What was worse was that she wanted to stick  around for the auction but Sherry told her that if she stayed much longer, Sherry was going to dress her in period clothes, midwife the birth and then have her help us make dinner. Sherry, with her quick wit and dry humor is a perfect Stan Laurel to my Oliver Hardy because all the while, I was having a hard time holding my expressions together, swinging between loud guffaws to wanting  to puke. Life on the frontier, I guess.


Anyway, birth is a wonderful time and we about got the baby delivered. Hopefully, the cabin will be done by if not before  November’s muster.



Filed under commentary, Sycamore Shoals Historical Site

3 responses to “A Couple of Near Things

  1. Amy

    Mr. Coon and his lowly servant deserve a steak dinner, on the Regiment!!! Huzzah for you two!!! What a work of art and hearty investment in the Fort you have made. I can’t wait to be there for the “open house”.


  2. Anonymous

    Fantastic job………….:) Randy and Sterl


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